Asia Pacific: A Market of Many Cultures

CEO Mike Amour oversees the creative and media businesses of 79 offices across Asia Pacific. The region, Mike says, is one that’s laden with cultural nuances and an abundance of local traditions. Navigating such a vast, complex market has its challenges but, certainly, has its rewards. Here, Mike shares what marketers need to know to craft messages for consumers in APAC and what they can do to make sure they’re pushing the limits with their campaigns.

Tell us about your background.

Well, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my career with some of the world’s top creative, experiential, and media agencies, whilst living and working in London, New York, Tokyo, Portland, Paris and—for the past 12 years—Singapore. Immediately prior to joining Havas, I was leading Starcom MediaVest Group APAC. I am a great believer in self-reinvention and in constantly learning.

Tell us about your new role: CEO of Havas Group APAC.

I feel privileged to have been appointed by Yannick Bolloré as CEO of Havas Group Asia Pacific. I believe that our Village model is a significant competitive advantage, and I look forward to leveraging it fully to make Havas an indispensable partner to brands in the region.

It’s very important that our Village strategy optimises our structure and offerings to create the most modern approach to developing solutions, regardless of where the thinking begins. In the coming months, we will be working closely with the CEOs of our media and creative agencies to better define what this should look like, at both the regional and local levels.

Why is it important, in your view, for media and creative to come together?

It is a fact that as the world moves faster and grows more complex, we see more clients consolidating their marketing budgets into a single communications group, transcending our industry’s traditional definitions of ‘creative’ and ‘media’.

The Villages drive a clear, progressive view on the future of our industry, which is that creativity is the product of radical collaboration. They must continue to create a seamless, integrated Havas experience, which inspires our people and ensures the best client service possible.

What should marketers consider when crafting messages for consumers in the Asia Pacific?

Asia Pacific is a region that can’t be averaged. Its vast geographic scale, with widely differing cultures and economies, which means that marketers need to consider each market individually to ensure global strategic adherence, but local relevance.

In January, you attended the Global Leadership Meeting in London. What was the main takeaway?

The main point was very clear: Our ‘Together’ vision and strategy are compelling and unique, but we need to move extremely quickly to implement it globally at all levels, to ensure we stay ahead of our competition, and to be able to lead our clients in the right way and at the right pace.

What development in technology you feel will have the biggest impact on advertising over the next five years?

In APAC, there is no question that mobile will have the biggest impact on advertising in the next five years. It is connecting people and commerce—even in the most rural areas of fast-developing markets like India—that would have been unimaginable, even a couple of years ago.

What can brands and agencies do to make sure they’re constantly pushing the envelope?

Ultimately our business is all about talent. So brands and agencies need to be able to attract the brightest and most creative talent, but also provide the right environment for them to flourish and take risks.

What’s the most interesting piece of content that you’ve consumed within the past 24 hours?

A trailer video shot on an iPhone of a school dance performance that my 16-year-old daughter is choreographing and performing in. I’m constantly surprised at the constantly evolving creativity of what can be achieved in small-format film and editing.

What will be the most sought-after job in the creative and media spaces five years from now?

Anyone who has proven themselves to be a radical and successful collaborator and innovator across the creative and media spaces over the next five years will be amongst the future stars of our industry.